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For Immediate Release

Planning Commission votes to recommend plans for redevelopment of the Sonoma Developmental Center

SANTA ROSA, CA | November 08, 2022

The Sonoma County Planning Commission on Monday recommended plans to guide the redevelopment of the Sonoma Developmental Center. The Planning Commission voted 4 to 1 to recommend changes to the SDC Specific Plan.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing and consider whether to approve the SDC Specific Plan and certify the Environmental Impact Report on Dec. 16.

“I applaud the efforts of the Planning Commission in continuing to move this project forward,” said Supervisor Susan Gorin, whose district encompasses the SDC. “Particular thanks is due to Commissioner Greg Carr from the Sonoma Valley for all of his efforts in representing this community. I look forward to continuing this work with my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors in service of meeting our housing needs, creating good jobs and making progress on climate adaptation and wildlife preservation in a way that will benefit both the Sonoma Valley and the County as a whole.”

If enacted, the final SDC Specific Plan would be a transformative effort that charts the future of the Sonoma Valley. The plan includes:

  • 1,000 housing units (inclusive of all potential state bonuses currently available).
  • Open space protection for 700 acres and preservation of Sonoma Creek.
  • More than 900 jobs that would provide diverse living-wage jobs in an economy driven largely by agriculture and hospitality.
  • Walkable core with transit, pedestrian, and bike paths to provide alternatives to automobile use.
  • Institutional uses focusing on research and education driving employment.
  • Commercial, recreational, and civic uses for residents, employees, and the greater Sonoma Valley.

The Planning Commission recommended changes to that plan that would increase the number of deed-restricted affordable units from 283 to 362, extend setbacks along Sonoma Creek to 100 feet (from 50 feet) and 50 feet for Mill Creek, reduce development in the northeast corner of campus and create new restrictions on lot size and allocations between housing types. The Planning Commission also expressed preference for the route of a new connecting road between Highway 12 and Arnold Drive.

Until its closure in 2018, the Sonoma Developmental Center provided services to people with developmental disabilities for more than 120 years and at one time was the county’s largest employer. The property includes a historic campus, agricultural lands, and vast open space resources but would require an estimated $100 million to pay for rehabilitation and to upgrade infrastructure. State law requires the redevelopment to prioritize housing, especially affordable housing and housing for people with developmental disabilities, and be economically feasible.

To read the Sonoma Developmental Center Specific Plan and the final Environmental Impact Report, visit

Media Contact:
Bradley Dunn, Permit Sonoma Policy Manager 
(707) 321-0502
2550 Ventura Ave.
Santa Rosa, CA 95403